Mose Humphrey

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member of Fire Company 40. A parishioner of St. Andrew's Church,[1] he inspired an urban folklore character of Big Mose (Mose the Fireboy). He was said to have a height of 8 ft (2.4 m) and hands as big as Virginia hams, able to lift trolley cars over his head and rescue babies inside a stovepipe hat, which his own beaver hat was two foot across the brim. The character of Mose first appeared on Broadway in Benjamin A. Baker's A Glance at New York, in 1848. Then Mose was featured in several stage shows and penny novels in the mid-19th century. The character was most identified with actor Frank Chanfrau.[2] Certain stories recall Mose doing extraordinary activities, such as tearing up mulberry and cherry trees to use as a bludgeon against the Plug Uglies, a gang that were at odds with New York Firemen Co. 49., or swimming the Hudson river with two strokes.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Iowerman". Forgotten-NY.com. Retrieved 2007-05-16. 
  2. ^ Welmeth and Bigsby 460.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mary Pope Osborne. New York's Bravest.
  • David L. Rinear. F. S. Chanfrau's Mose: The Rise and Fall of an Urban Folk-Hero. Theatre Journal, Vol. 33, No. 2 (May, 1981), pp. 199–212